alanis morissette

alanis morissette

Well isn’t that ironic, the unwelcome guest at the sectarian wedding, just ruined the whole wedding, and may yet fuck the bride out of her smug self satisfied, frankly laughable treble treble ambitions that her bridesmaids in the media see as something to be proud of rather than a perfect example of the ridiculously skewed state of Scottish football.

I took that wedding metaphor, and just went for it, like Lewis Ferguson with his eye on the ball in the six yard box at a corner.

Incidently according to Twitter the Celtic support’s FORTY MILE journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow after the semi final was a nightmare. That’s as ironic as rain on Alanis Morissette’s wedding day. Let’s hold a minute’s silence at our next game for their suffering.

BT Sport’s coverage

Normally I have Red TV International’s excellent coverage to take me through Dons games. I saw it with BT Sport’s commentary. Something I’ve pretty much never heard before.

One of the media’s favourite narratives is the love of an underdog, a giant killer, a fairytale ending. The team with the far smaller budget, who were not playing at home, whose supporters had travelled furthest, who were vastly out numbered… course they didn’t.

And not one of the three man commentary team had a clue about Aberdeen. No insight, no basic knowledge, these people are supposed to know more than the audience. The only angle on McInnes, his former Rangers connection, the only angle on Lewis Ferguson, his family connection to Rangers. Their knowledge of anything else Afc related, nothing. I suspect they could have told us how many times Stevie G had been to the toilet that day. It’s not just Glasgow media bias, it’s rank unprofessionalism.

It’s always been that way

I wrote leading up to the semi final on Hampden, on Boyd, on the SFA and the Glasgow media. One of the points put to me a few times on social media is, ‘it’s always been that way, just move on’.

‘It’s always been that way’ in particular intrigues me. It’s an age thing. My grandfather was born the year Aberdeen were founded. In the scheme of things, organised football isn’t actually that old. ‘It’s always been that way’ just doesn’t wash. Much like [add your own joke here].

We don’t need to stand for this crap. We have to get our club to fight The SFA, and the media. The corrupt disciplinary committees, which is clearly about helping The Rangers reach full revenue potential, which means damaging us. The Traynor controlled Glasgow media agendas, led by the chief attack dog, the arsehole’s arsehole Kris Boyd.

The shame of Hampden

The other giant white elephant in the room, Hampden continuing as the ‘National stadium’. Just accepting the decision when Murrayfield is sitting there in Scotland’s Capital. With a tram service stopping right outside it. The dishonesty of ‘Glasgow is a football city’, (with the innuendo of nowhere else in Scotland is, or is allowed to become). The dishonesty of ‘tradition of Hampden’, generations now only know it as a shithole for a serial failing Scottish national team. And if ‘Glasgow is a football city’, why aren’t there 50,000 at Partick Thistle matches. The Old Firm (3 clubs, 1 dead, it exists) is just the establishment’s divide and rule distraction. Why else does it not get a bad word said about it in the establishment media? Why no mention how much better it was without one of them? Why no questioning of a club spending money, that doesn’t have money? Why no questioning of corrupt disciplinary committees? Why not a negative word about Sir David Murray? Because the establishment use this shit show to divide and distract.

Here’s a thought, use Murrayfield, then when Murrayfield is done and dusted in 50 years or whatever, the next one can be back in Glasgow. How hard was that. The fact the SFA didn’t have the money to even purchase the land at 6 million. Not even a bit of the money. Where will the funding come from for a decent stadium? The fact The SFA/SPFL didn’t think those semi final tickets needed to be reprinted with the correct time on. Or perhaps couldn’t afford to reprint.

Scottish football, like Scotland’s media is corrupt to the core. The media in Scotland hold nothing and no-one to account. It’s as good as on it’s arse. Aberdeen FC don’t need to accept this shit anymore. The best time of all is to act while in a position of power, not angry or hurt, or aggressive. With a big old smile on your face. That time is right now.

*Pedants I don’t need schooling on the irony of Alanis Morissette’s Isn’t it Ironic lyrics thanks anyway. I too have the internet.

cheese

cheese

Neutral. Meaning ‘without advantage’. A venue for a football match which is not home to either of the teams involved. The reason being to make the chance of winning based purely on merits on the pitch. A one off, equal contest, a different type of game from a league fixture. Winner takes all.

Hampden. Neutral like Switzerland during the second world war. But without the nazi gold. Well the gold at any rate.

A brand new day

One of the things I find fascinating with Scottish football, is whenever there is a problem, whenever there is a decision to make, those in the authorities act like this is the first time this has ever come up. Every day in Scottish football is day one of Scottish football. Every day a brand new day without history. Whether it be times for televised games for clubs geographically far apart or venues for neutral games. Ticket sales, finding a competent manager, arranging semi finals, day one.

The argument from those of an Old Firm persuasion is it is important that those who regularly attend football matches are at semi-finals and finals. Hence a 75-25 split of a crowd for an Old Firm team, in their city, is a fair and just split of a crowd.

This care for those who ‘regularly attend football matches’ I first heard from the mouth of the esteemed football visionary Sir David Murray. Why oh why didn’t we listen to him more.

An obvious solution

We’ve played Celtic quite a few times at Hampden in the last five years. Ye know Hampden. In Glasgow. Celtic’s city. Here’s an idea since we will at some point in the next couple of years be playing them again, how about the next one is at Dens Park. In Dundee. Then they travel a bit, and we travel a bit, and it’s neutral. We’ll sell our 50% (it’ll be oversubscribed), they’ll sell their 50% (also oversubscribed) it’ll be a cracking spectacle, and will look fab on TV. Dundee will make some money (good for Scottish football to spread it around) and lots of fitba supporters get to visit the Dundee V&A and pronounce ‘peh’ in a patronising tone. Everybody happy. Then the next couple of times, back to ‘neutral’ Hampden. How hard would that be?

Even it out a bit, mix it up a bit. Different clubs can have different venues for their neutral Old Firm game. Watching Brendan squirm at having to go to Murrayfield made for a fascinating reveal on how scared The Old Firm are of a real neutral venue.

But why is the game so rigged for the Old Firm?

Neoliberalism. People of a neoliberal persuasion claim to love the free market, love capitalism, love business, and will claim to be creative, visionary entrepreneurs. It’s all bullshit. What they love is a rigged market, where they have a guarantee of profit, and they can’t lose money. Richard Branson at Virgin Trains. If they lose money, the tax payer pays, if they make a profit it’s theirs. He makes out he’s a silly old hippy, an entrepreneurial genius, but he’s just someone who can spot an easy mark, and that easy mark is the tax payers’ money. Hence he is currently all over NHS contracts at the moment. Branson himself is a tax exile. Go figure.

On the football side, take the Champions League. If you are in the Champions League you get skwillions of quid, and therefor have a higher chance of getting into The Champions League the following season with the extra money from The Champions League. If you finish higher in the English Premiership you receive more prize money, and therefor have a higher chance of finishing in the top end of the English Premier League the following season, and then, in the Champion’s League, which leads to more money… It’s a neo liberal carve up. The market must decide, but only after we’ve rigged the market. The only chance of things being shaken up in the upper echelons of English football is some Arab country pumps in money to a club that really ought to be paying for hospitals for it’s citizens. Hello Man City’s UAE. The only way into the party, is even more money, irrespective of how that money has been ‘acquired’.

A closed shop. Neoliberalism, Thatcherism, Reaganism at it’s finest- For younger readers, vile sociopathic politicians began long before Trump and May, and Blair…

And that ultimately is what The Rangers and Celtic are. Neoliberal football club’s uninterested in playing the game fairly. They control the football authorities, control the media, they are Thatcher’s children, Thatcher’s football clubs. In fact as their cozy little cartel goes back a lot further to before Rangers died, it could be The Old Firm was really Thatcher’s inspiration. It wasn’t Adam Smith at all. It was the cunting Old Firm.

punch bag aberdeen

punch bag aberdeen

Hit me baby one more time…

Interesting narrative going on at the moment in Scottish football. From a historical perspective and seeing the big picture of what is going on is also worth looking at.

A sort of re-cap we are ‘an embarrassment’, being laughed at, sneered at, criticised for not selling enough tickets and pretty much the punchbag for Scottish football at the moment.

We have a very important game against The Rangers coming up, my what a coincidence. Ticket sales? Irrelevant, Cormack may have made an error, but so what, it’s a trivial thing in the scheme of things. But our lack of ticket sales are a very big story in the Scottish media with a remarkably consistent line of argument. One might say synchronised.

Geography

For anyone who doesn’t understand the concept of geography, we are much farther away, it will cost far more money, and take much more time, to visit a stadium that is a piss poor sporting experience and our team is not playing that well at the moment. We shouldn’t need to explain it, we shouldn’t need to justify, or apologize for it, Hearts and The Rangers are playing at home. Celtic are travelling forty miles.  It’s almost like time and cost can affect the size of a crowd.

Doncaster and the SFA’s job is not to run Scottish football efficiently, it’s to do the establishment’s bidding. The establishment team need a huge amount of help right now. The establishment have two teams, but one currently needs help more than the other.  So the royal fuck up of four teams in the same stadium on the same day, on the back of Hampden being a disgrace, the national team being chronically mismanaged for decades, and clear and open corruption in disciplinary committees, is not a story, didn’t happen, nothing to see here. Just Aberdeen not selling tickets.

A poor man’s Ally McCoist

Then there’s Kris Boyd. He’s a bit of a rascal, a cheeky chappie, a poor man’s Ally McCoist, and McCoist was a cunt. What he does is not accidental. Everything he writes is passed by at least two editors at The Sun. Almost certainly he is following instructions, he may also not be writing it. And the same cheeky chappie is free to say whatever he wants on any part of the media he wants. Including your licence fee funded BBC Glasgow.

Why Aberdeen don’t take action against the Sun I find mystifying. I can’t think of a single reason to not ban them. They don’t give Aberdeen positive publicity. They don’t market the club, they don’t sell tickets, but they actively use Aberdeen FC as a punch bag whenever they see fit. They can’t treat us worse. That’s already what they do. There are 96 reasons to ban them from a football perspective, and there’s several thousand more outside of football.

The big question though is why are we under attack? Last season we were second. While we are not The Rangers real enemy, as an absolute minimum they must get past us this season. And if you are really watching our team, we could easily still be second, there is a lot to unfold this season.

Pulling the strings

Then there is another element. The real poison in Scottish football, the real power, Jim Traynor. It was him who orchestrated the shameful eight weeks of ‘McInnes must be The Rangers new manager’ last season. It could well be him behind Boyd, his power over the entire Glasgow media as sick as the lack of a semblance of impartiality during the independence vote. The Scottish media a collection of careerist waste of space, lick spittle arseholes completely free of integrity, and with no interest in sport, journalism or society.

I would say Traynor would want to destroy McInnes for turning him down. He clearly has the entire Glasgow media in his rancid pocket, and the SFA.

On Sunday, we go to war.

traynor

alex smith northern light

A look at the Alex Smith years, and The Northern Light and the P&J.

stewart milne aberdeen fc

stewart milne aberdeen fc

I like Stewart Milne. Well I want to at any rate. For a long time pre McInnes I was backing him when the majority absolutely were not. He made mistakes, but those were human mistakes. He meant well.

Perhaps I’m just a contrarian, maybe I don’t like seeing someone being overly criticised and will always defend them, I genuinely don’t know, but it’s been while McInnes has been with us, I’ve felt to be more revealing about Milne, than when things were going badly.

I’ve nothing but enormous respect and admiration for anyone building a business like his up from scratch. But what concerns me, or at any rate intrigues me with Milne, is that skill, that passion, doesn’t in my opinion, transfer to his governance of Aberdeen football club. When I say that, I am not talking about him spending his own money, it’s about decision making, short term and long term.

Debt

Let’s take debt for example. We were all unhappy when the club had enormous debt, and the interest was spinning it out of control. Debt’s a bad thing. The debt came about largely from very poor decision making. In particular allowing Roy Aitken and Alex Miller to spend large sums of money. So we learned, allowing football managers to spend money was bad. This isn’t what we should have learned from that. We should have learned giving bad managers money to spend is a bad idea.

For example look at McInnes’ early years. We’d become debt clear, we clearly had our best manager since Ferguson, there was only one half of The Old Firm available and they were poorly managed by Delia. Why not try investing there.

Let’s say there is a 5 million player budget, this is higher than under previous managers, as crowds are coming back, more games on TV, more semi and finals, more sponsors. McInnes has generated that bigger budget for himself. Why not, as a businessman, go in hard and invest? This guy seems to know what he’s doing, give him a six million budget (an extra million). Give him money he hasn’t generated, get it from the bank, but let him know if we don’t then generate further money from this investment, the following year’s budget will be a million down, to pay back the money. Or to put it simply, you invest when there is something to invest in. Investing money under Aitken or Alex Miller was nothing short of idiocy.

The shop

This brings me to another element, the club shop. There used to be one on Bridge Street. Presumably it didn’t do well, so we only have one at Pittodrie. But it wasn’t doing well while the club were doing poorly. Under McInnes the club has been doing well. There are no longer cash gates. A shop near the centre to sell merchandise, distribute tickets would give the club a footprint in the city centre, and could be very lucrative. They could even create a combined Adidas store working with their shirt sponsor. If they were to invest properly, they could open their own burger joint based around Angus the Bull. He is a very well created character, but they would need to invest, to be passionate about it, for it to work.

But they haven’t, they haven’t invested, haven’t tried to increase revenues despite a council shopping centre being desperate for the quantity of people a well run Afc shop could bring. The wrong lesson was learned, that a shop in the centre was bad. Celtic have nine shops.

They talk of American investment and selling to Asia, but can barely sell to Union Street, 15 minutes up the road.

The DNA

AberDNA sums it up perfectly. A very good concept, very well executed. Clear investment, time and money working well to increase the club’s revenue. Imagine what McInnes could have done with all that money three or four years ago. How that in turn could have increased success, increased support, increased revenues. But they didn’t do it, until income was required for investment in a building project.

And that one, AberDNA is the big Stewart Milne give away. When Bob Hoskins asks Roger Rabbit if he could have done that at any time (taken his hand out of a handcuff), Roger replies, ‘only when it was funny’. Well for Stewart Milne, creativity, ideas, investment, only when it involved a building project.

It feels like our club is in mothballs. Look at what they can do when he is passionate about something. The Aurora campaign (you’re welcome) was brilliantly executed and had heavy investment in it, just like AberDNA. But the rest, it feels like McInnes is a very talented sticking plaster covering up a huge pile of disinterest. What happens when that plaster falls off…

suggs

It’s all a bit tense on the old Dandy social media at the moment. There hasn’t been this much sheep drama since a plane crashed into Emmerdale.  So why have we not sold as many tickets as we might have thought we had? And does it matter? From what I see there is no one defining factor. We are not in good form, albeit that may well be about to change, our recent Old Firm performances have been awful, it costs a lot of money, Scottish football is corrupt…

But to feel ashamed, to feel embarrassed is just ridiculous. That the Scottish football authorities can’t organize a football match, or an unbiased disciplinary committee, or don’t have a stadium fit for purpose, that isn’t in a neutral city, that we should be grateful to our directors for ONCE standing up for us, who singularly mismanaged our club since the day Alex ferguson left, didn’t upgrade our stadium, didn’t purchase the land around our stadium as it became available, didn’t build training facilities twenty years ago when it first became an issue, and are sticking our new stadium in a place with virtually no traffic infrastructure, and FIVE years after having our best manager in decades join the club put the necessary investment and creativity into AberDNA only when there is a building project that needs funding, and we are supposed to be grateful to, or apologetic to these fucking people. Fuck off.

We are the famous Aberdeen, and we’ll do what we fucking want! Stand Free.

 

 

 

spfl logo

spfl logo
Scottish football, where a team who’s supporters will travel on average the longest distance, at considerable cost and time, with a repeat journey with all the cost and time commitments if we get to the final, are made to feel not good enough for not selling as many tickets as a team who are virtually playing at home.

Brendan’s complaints regarding Celtic’s game being moved to Murrayfield are incredibly revealing. The Old Firm are well aware of the enormous advantage that Hampden gives them every time they play there.

We ought to be excited about an upcoming semi-final and the SPFL and our opposition should be honoured to have us there, and respect and acknowledge the clear advantages that Glasgow clubs have in a clearly rigged ‘neutral’ venue.

Are we really supposed to be grateful they moved the time of the match? And did they even move it for us? More likely the absolute clusterfuck of an idea that four sets of supporters hitting the same venue on the same day could have resulted in mayhem.

And if Scotland had been playing at Pittodrie, and so few had turned up as there was against Portugal at Hampden, we’d be made to feel it was our, the north east of Scotland’s fault, and this would be a reason for no matches returning to Pittodrie.

And what of Milne’s request for a summit? It’s 2018, they don’t need to physically meet. Surely even the SFA, SPFL can arrange a Skype conference call, or get someone to show them how to turn Skype on.

Scottish football is a sick, sick world. Corrupt to the core.

spfl fire

spfl fire

Let’s face it, we are not going to be allowed to win that quarter final. The establishment need The Rangers in that final, and I’d say they’ll get help to win it. It’s blatant, it’s obvious, and it’s not just a football team that club represents.

We know the years without The Rangers, our club did really well. Our support increased, our revenues increased, our positions in the league were better than for decades. There are of course other Dek shaped variables to consider. But safe to say in the allotted period, had Celtic also not been there, we would have been champions, we’d have gained even more supporters, even more revenue, done even better.

At the moment, not only are we stronger financially than at any time in the last twenty years, so are Hearts, and so are Hibs. Scottish football is booming.

Since it’s now scientifically proven the other clubs in Scotland don’t need the Old Firm, and in fact it’s better without them, why on earth is the game being rigged in their favour?

Theories on why Scotland ‘needs a strong Old Firm’

Pure Glasgow bias

So who benefits from ‘Scotland needs a strong Old Firm’? Pure footballing bias is one part of it. Rangers and Celtic supporters in the media/football authorities. There’s clear Glasgow bias in other aspects of Scottish society. Glasgow is a great city, great people, this is the media and football establishment this is about.

For example the backdrop of BBC Scotland news. The view out their window. A visual metaphor of all they are interested in, and a gigantic advertisement for Glasgow, on every news bulletin.  They are marketing the city they love, on your TV licence money, and marketing the football clubs they support too.

Politics

There is probably an element of political control within Old Firm bias. In particular, The Union, has never needed a strong The Rangers, than ever before. No shit Sherlock! At the same time I’m well aware there will be plenty SNP voters in their support, and people who don’t want independence in the Aberdeen or Celtic support, but at the very least The Rangers, is a handy focal point for unionism. Take a look around central Aberdeen, statues of Queen Victoria, King Edward (yes there are other statues) read up on what Union Street is named after. Not coincidental. Political manipulation for the Union is a strong part of it.

Distraction

There is another theory, the Old Firm is the establishment’s distraction. If as many people are distracted by some sectarianism dressed up as a football match with wall to wall media coverage, they won’t question what the banks are up to. Amazon’s tax avoidance, Apple’s Facebook’s, Google’s, BP’s. Who owns the land in Scotland, the editor of The Daily Mail has an estate, really?! Imagine if we all went to visit, on the same day. Divide and rule. Sporting division, religious division, race division, ethnicity division, between the sexes, between the classes, all so the 1%ers can rule, and not pay tax.

Rank incompetence

Let’s face it, sheer fucking incompetence is very much a ‘go to’ for the establishment. Let us remember James Bond is fiction, the real one will be a former classmate of Boris Johnson and every bit as self entitled, incompetent a fuckwitt. With a gun.

I am sure there are other possible reasons.

How to fix it

The seldom mentioned  story of how it came about that The Rangers had to start in the bottom rung of Scottish football. That summer after the liquidation every commenter in the mainstream media insisted they had to start in the top tier. It went on all summer. The football authorities, the few sponsors associated with Scottish football, the TV companies, were all in the media insisting The Rangers start in the SPL. There was an absolute media blitz on why that had to happen.

But it didn’t happen. Why was that? The clue is when the decision was made as to which league they’d play in. Three weeks before the start of the season. Because football supporters wouldn’t purchase their season tickets. The long wait for a decision was the authorities convinced we’d purchase them. Not purchasing them until The Rangers were in the bottom tier, showed we were prepared to walk away from Scottish football, burn Scottish football to the ground metaphorically, if they started in the SPL. So they started in the bottom league. One of the greatest examples of football supporters standing up to the authorities of the establishment ever. Scotland’s mainstream media: it didn’t happen.

And that shows what has to be done if we want Scottish football cleansed of it’s poison. We have to be prepared to walk away. To metaphorically burn Pittodrie to the ground. Or nothing will change. The Old Firm need us, all the Scottish clubs, way more than the other way round, but they need us to be their whipping boys, and the last few years has made us and other clubs strong, and one half of The Old Firm not dominant enough. Hence the recent decisions.

charlie nicholas aberdeen training

It’s all very well wallowing in the brilliance of Charlie Nicholas’s goal against Celtic, that hit the back of the net without touching the ground from the keeper’s hands, without mentioning the rest of the game. It’s football, it’s never just one thing, it’s never straight forward, without complications.

If you were at that game, you remember that goal. I’ve been to lots of games I remember almost nothing about. This game I remember.

I had this flatmate Kev from Essex. A post grad something or other. Kev was a Gooner. Kev was so laid back to be almost asleep. Kev had an incredibly dry wit and he knew how to wind me up no end.

He once said he thought sex was over rated in a nonchalant way, and he didn’t really enjoy it. His girlfriend was stunning. I was single. He was that guy, and still infuriatingly likeable.

Kev would say ‘Scottish football is rubbish’, and ‘never got what the fuss had been about Charlie Nicholas when he had arrived at Arsenal anyway’, ‘He was supposed to score all these goals…’, ‘just because he scored in a cup final’, ‘always thought he was shit’.

I won’t take the bait, I won’t take the bait, I won’t take the bait, I took the bait… and then off he’d fuck to his room.

So me and Kev were at Aberdeen v Celtic. Bobby Mimms kicks, Gillhaus’s head, over Charlie’s shoulder, BANG. Pittodrie erupts. I erupt. On my way back down from ten feet in the air, I remember what was really important at that moment. Amongst all the celebration in the South Stand, I turn to Kev, look him straight in the eyes, and nod, THERE!

Victory is mine

Thanks to that goal, I have won. Scottish football is not rubbish, it is fantastic, Charlie Nicholas is a brilliant player, and Aberdeen are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen…

Of course Kev doesn’t respond, as he is too laid back to show any emotion, or care about anything, ever, but there is a hint of defeat on his face. All I needed for victory. So I sit back and wait for Aberdeen to kick on. A packed Pittodrie, Gillhaus and Charlie have just combined for that goal, let the show really begin.

They did literally fuck all the rest of the game. With every passing minute, I could feel my victory slipping away. Celtic equalize. Maybe this will wake them up to kick on. They’ll hit the ‘total football button’, and push on to a brilliant victory against a pretty piss poor Celtic team.

Did they fuck. I’m not sure if Charlie Nicholas even touched the ball again that game. Like a collection of mercenaries who believe they’d done what they were paid for, and are just going through the motions.

As the game goes on, I stupidly glance towards Kev. The hint of a smug little grin is back. No words are being spoken, he doesn’t need to. I’m getting angrier and angrier. With Scottish football, with Charlie fucking Nicholas, with that bastard Kev.

Training days

charlie nicholas aberdeen training

Charlie Nicholas training at Aberdeen. You see if ye tuck yer sweatshirt intae yer troosers, yer gonna look a wee bit fat there Charlie. I took this photo when I was an art student. I got permission from the club. A letter from Ian Porterfield himself! The idea was I’d take photos with a view to an illustration project. Little bit of a problem, despite having borrowed a zoom lens from a fellow student (nothing like what the pros use) being a shy young fella, I didn’t get close enough to them, for it to make any difference.

willie miller aberdeen training

Yeah, the coolest man on the park, the coolest man in the world…
Peter Nicholas on the ball. Not sure the two behind him. Big Bri, Wullie, and a young Michael Watt, who was third keeper then. I remember a huge cheer from all the players after a good save. I think probably very new to first team training.

aberdeen fc training

I lost about a half a stone that day from the sheer anxiety of the experience.  I don’t think Wullie was impressed with the far off, anxious looking art student in his denim jacket and jeans, a wee bit too far away…
Tom Jones, Paul Wright, Peter Nicholas, I think Ian Robertson, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish.

john hewitt aberdeen

Aye is it.

charlie nicholas aberdeen celtic

charlie nicholas aberdeen

How Charlie Nicholas signed for Aberdeen was a fascinating story. This is all pre Sky TV where very little football was on TV, live at any rate, and the money in England was nothing like now. Charlie had been the most sought after player in the UK while at Celtic. He turned down Liverpool. The all conquering Liverpool of the seventies and early eighties. He chose Arsenal. Odd to think now but Charlie Nicholas was considered a looker, a sex symbol, was on the covers of magazines, was quite the star. And had probably quite the lifestyle to go with it.

Then George Graham took over at Arsenal. Graham decided he didn’t want him.

But why did we get him? One reason was, we had the cash. Aberdeen FC were a very cash rich club for a few years. The Ferguson legacy money. All those trophies, all that success, buying cheap, selling expensive, developing talent, not paying exorbitant salaries. A very well run club, who’d had the manager of a generation in charge. They had even developed parts of the stadium, something very unusual at that time in British football. All very sound management.

Ian Porterfield who came next, said after he had left the club, ‘you’ve no idea, how much money I had to spend. But I wouldn’t just blow it’. Something like that. But he did sign Charlie Nicholas. And unforgivably punted Peter Weir out the door almost the same day. Because the one thing Charlie Nicholas wasn’t going to need was a winger to supply him with ammo…

When Nicholas signed, Brian Clough made an odd comment, ‘that’s a long way to go for a game of football’. It seems Graham wouldn’t sell Nicholas to any of Arsenal’s rivals. Any of the clubs that could have afforded his then wages, or with managers who could have gotten the slightly wayward Nicholas back on track.

I saw an interview with Nicholas recently where he said he was lined up to go to France, Graham scuppered it for him (this is pre-Bosman) and Nicholas believed it was out of jealousy.

For the next few years George Graham’s Arsenal would go onto huge success. Not only shafted by Graham, but to sit back and watch him, and his former team mates doing very well, must have been incredibly hard, or at least very mixed emotions.

Charlie himself never showed it, publicly at least. He was always very positive about the city of Aberdeen, and the club, without ever patronising us supporters either. There must have been a fair bit of tabloid pressure on him. From Stringfellows nightclub to training at Balgownie kind of thing.

The Wenger years

As it turned out, Graham was sacked by Arsenal when he got caught stealing. He then went to a couple of different clubs where a pattern emerged. At Leeds Utd, their star striker Yeboah, dropped, finished, Thomas Brolin the same. At Spurs, Ginola, dropped, finished. What they all have in common with Charlie, they were presumably underperforming, but they were probably the most naturally gifted players in their respective squads, and as flair players, loved by supporters. Was it to engender team spirit, or to show who was in charge, or did Graham just like to destroy a career?

I went to an Arsenal game once at Highbury under Graham when I moved to London in 93. It was against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, in what would become Clough’s last season. Inside twenty minutes Ian Wright had scored two sensational goals. Incredible to see. English football was fab. www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2byTsNG2FA (looks like a Pathe Newsreel now…)

They then 30 minutes in, proceeded to park the bus. 2-0 up, playing at home, against a Forest team that would eventually be relegated. So ‘boring boring Arsenal’ wasn’t just a bit of football banter. George Graham’s teams were horrible to watch.


Update: After posting this I bumped into Graham Hunter’s interview with Charlie Nicholas. Highly recommended listening. www.grahamhunter.tv/category/the-big-interview/. The rest of his work is also outstanding.

———————–

Why the bottle of Becks in the illustration? Whenever Gordon Reid drew ‘Champagne Charlie’ in The Northern Light fanzine, he invariably had a bottle of Becks in his hand. I always thought it incredibly funny. Cheers Gordon!

And the Mimms, Gillhaus, Charlie goal. www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFhbeK_vu2M

Leighton Snelders

Jim Leighton versus Theo Snelders, who was best?

A look back at the talking points from Aberdeen Motherwell 22/09/2018.

“These guys have contacts in Dubai and one of them had asked if it would be possible for Ed Sheeran to play there and they then asked me.

“When I first considered it, I thought ‘How the hell do you go about that?’ and then I realised he was playing at Hampden in the summer so I contacted those in the know.

“They put me in touch and I quickly established he had been there last year and wasn’t coming again, so within a couple of days I had them a very clear answer.”

Mark McGhee. www.bbc.com/sport/football/45573933

So, you want to contact Ed Sheeran’s manager?

I know how to do it, you know how to do it, I know this as you are reading this online. 2018 is the year you and I are living in.

Now we’ve all got Ed Sheeran’s manager’s contact details, because it’s not a fucking secret!

And it took, almost two minutes to find. And if we got in touch, we’d probably have a reply from one of his assistants within the hour. Probably with a ‘no, but thanks for your enquiry’, Sheeran’s probably booked up at least two years in advance at any given time.

Meanwhile back in Mark McGhee world

Ring ring.

Hello, The Scottish Football Association, how can I help you?

Oh hi Mark, what can I help you with?

Sorry what?!

Yeah boss, it’s Mark McGhee on the phone.

Oh yeah, how can we help him.

We-ell, he’s after Ed Sheeran’s contact details.

Sorry what, I thought for a second you said…

We’re the SFA, we can’t organise Scottish football, why on earth would…

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me make a phone call.

Hello is that Craigie Broon, how are ya?

Didn’t one of your ex girl friends used to go out with Ed Sheeran?

Thought so, do you have his manager’s number? Can you dig out your filofax?

And after only three days, our tactical genius Mark got the answer.

You can contact the Mark McGhee Detective Agency on fax number 9-0…

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Does anyone else think the Mark McGhee Detective Agency would make a brilliant Sunday evening crime drama. Does anyone have the number for a BBC commissioning editor? What am I thinking, I’ll call the SFA…

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Still love the man to bits. Always a legend. Just go watch the CWC Final.

machine gun

machine gun

Lots of calls for Bruce Anderson to start for Aberdeen, and calls that it should have happened already. Here’s why I think he shouldn’t.

Right now, at Bruce Anderson’s age, and point of development as a player, Anderson’s career is more important than Aberdeen F.C’s results. Albeit that is with a view to Anderson’s long term development being for the good of Aberdeen FC.

At the moment, Anderson will be training like a beast, listening to every piece of advice he is being given, analysing every second of his fifteen minutes or so on the pitch, and itching to try out stuff in training matches and development games. He will be improving, week on week, day by day, developing to reach his full potential. When he comes on as sub, he is an energy bomb desperate to deliver.

I hope he isn’t reading this, but right now, might just be the best time he will ever have in his life. Life is a journey, not a destination. Hovering on the edge of really making it, must be incredibly exciting. And by christ, you probably do what you’re told…

If we lose, he is not responsible, not to blame, if he misses a chance it won’t be that decisive. He can go back to training with no negative pressure on him. Only the positive, internal pressure of wanting to improve, wanting to get that first team start.

If he starts a game, and we lose, if he misses an important chance at 0-0, if he has to be subbed after 70 minutes with the game not going well, if some experienced veteran defender gets the better of him, it will put enormous pressure on him. When he is training, that pressure will stay with him. It can be like a fifty kilo weight on his shoulders. He won’t listen properly, his energy levels will fall, self doubt will creep in at a goal scoring opportunity. It could destroy his development if he is thrown in too early.

Why was it okay for McKenna? Defenders have to stop fifteen, twenty attacks a game. You make a mistake, you have other defenders to help, and Big Joe to mop up after you. There is pressure, but nothing like that of a centre forward, or for that matter a goalkeeper. One mistake, and the match is decided, entire careers have been defined by a couple of errors. Same reason we took in Woodman when Lewis was injured, instead of using Rodgers. Midfielders, wingers, full backs, can all hide for a bit during a game. Forwards can’t, everything must count.

Less confident managers would have started Anderson by now with our other forwards performing poorly so far. Right now Stevie May is taking all the flak, if nothing else it’s protecting Cosgrove and Anderson from getting it. He’s paid well, he’s older, he’ll know he’s not delivering.

McInnes’s great skill is the ability to make the team better than the sum of it’s parts. That is yet to happen this season. They’ll go away and train together, keep working and eventually it’ll click. It’s McInnes, it always does. And maybe Anderson will start the next match, but only because he’s ready, not because we need him.

The photo: When you’ve got your own blog, you can find an appropriate photo, or just find a photo you think is kinda cool…